Tag Archives: bead embroidery

Bead embroidery works in progress, March 2020

Bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020I went into self-quarantine on March 1, and the first two weeks were HARDCORE BEAD EMBROIDERY.

Like, my most hardcore deep dive into beads and pearls and crystals EVER.

Opalescent bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020The first piece I put a quick forty hours of stitching into is an opalescent colors patchwork of applique and vinyl.

I used a commercial applique in shades of pale blue and lavender on tulle as a base.

Opalescent bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020 detail 1I added scraps of pink iridescent vinyl left over from last month’s Fairy Rainbow Unicorn crown project, and then when my glitter and holographic vinyl shipment (The Last Art Supplies) arrived from the UK, I added some bits of blue and lavender textured iridescent pvc.

Opalescent bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020 detail 1I stitch the wavy scraps of pvc onto the back of the piece in a patchwork, using colored and metallic thread. The beads and rhinestones are from my stash, some 20 years ago old.

Sickle Moon bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020Then I decided to do something gothy, in the second week of March.

Back when I still thought I’d be going to some glamourous Weimar Berlin 1920s themed parties later this year. (Spoiler: as an immunocompromised person with asthma, I probably won’t go to an event again until there’s an effective treatment, a passive immunity shot made from antibodies, or a vaccine.)

Sickle Moon bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020I had the idea of a sickle moon, with antique pearl buttons and anthracite rhinestuds. The base is a commercial wristwarmer or fingerless glove with embroidered applique on it. I cut it open, both to make it easier to work on and because I have quite large bones and will need to add a gusset to it anyway.

Jewel color bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020 2The third big bead embroidery project this month was jewel tones.

Why do we call dark purples, blues, greens and reds “jewel tones”? I don’t know, since obvs jewels come in all colors. Anyway, I found a beautiful piece of flowered velvet while digging through stashes, and used it as a base, with a purple applique left over from my Bisexual Pride corset project a couple years ago. Jewel color bead embroidery WIP by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020I added some petrol-colored (that’s the UK/European term for dark teal or peacock blue) velvet, some scraps of dark blue glitter vinyl, and some purple iridescent PVC. An additional piece of tulle (galaxy glitter tulle, as seen in the Big Gay Rainbow Dino-Witch!) holds everything down. I trimmed it back in an organic way in some places, to get different amounts of shine from the vinyls. In some places I also colored the light tulle with a blue Sharpie, where I wanted the blue vinyl to come through more.

patchwork tulle embroidery diagram by Suzanne ForbesSince this is hard to explain, I made one of my signature Bad Diagrams. I hope it helps a little?

All three of these pieces will eventually be sewn into wrist cuffs. I’m often photographed at events from over my shoulder, as I draw, and I had the idea it would be cool to be wearing something spectacular on that hand!

Beetle tiara, beetle necklace and finished insect corset!

Bead embroidered insect corset tiara and necklace by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019Good heavens. The insect outfit project got a little out of hand.

Typical for me!  Bead embroidered insect corset tiara and necklace by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019

beetle bricolage tiara by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I made a tiara, using my usual method of embellishing an existing metal flora tiara with decorative elements. This time, beetle brooches and wired loops of iridescent beads and crystals. The beads were left over from the corset.

The beetle brooches are inexpensive enameled pot metal, bought on eBay. They are the last of my cheap art materials bought by mail, as I’m taking a consumer break and eliminating non-local purchases as much as I can. I have enough 3D art supplies to make bricolage stuff for years anyway!

I always wire everything on, for strength.

I had some copper wire that matched the tiara, but I also used gold to split the difference between the base color of the beetles. My design/decorating motto is always, add more stuff til it all goes together/the mistakes are hidden/it has so many colors it will match anything.

I use E6000 on top of the wire to cover any scratchy sharp wire ends and stabilize the knots and connections.

Halfway through, I ran out of regular E6000 and had to order the new “odorless” E6000 Plus. My Beloved Friend, Muse and Patron Monique Motil, master costumier, often said of E6000, “The bad smell is how you know it’s gonna work!” and I would laugh.

Of course, I’ve always been a person who was totally cavalier about chemicals and fumes, because of my misspent youth, but now that I have overlapping autoimmune diseases I’m rethinking that.

So I was willing to try the new version, but I was initially disappointed. E6000 Plus is described as self-leveling, and tbh the old kind was too, but I find the Plus a bit runnier.

Regarding adhesion, I tested the bond a few hours on, when the glue was dry to the touch, and the glue blobs peeled right off!

However, I love to research adhesives, and I read on a forum that the bond isn’t strong til the glue is fully cured. And behold, after 24 hours the bonds seem pretty good.

So, making the switch to E6000Plus until I can get some nontoxic GemTak, which my Beloved Friend and Muse Noéline la Bouche swears by, as does master headdress maker Sylva of Bubbles and Frown.

For the necklace I prised off the pinback parts of some beetle brooches. The brooches are made of fairly soft pot metal and the pinback portions are generally soldered on; they can usually be broken off with jewelry pliers.

Suz’s most serious crafting and bricolage tip: have a set of jewelry tools at your elbow at your worktable.

You will use them every day, although rarely for actual jewelry. The broken solder left sharp, ragged edges, but rather than file them down (I’m working on the dust exposure problem too!) I just covered them with the Apoxie Sculpt I used to attach the eye pins.

The stems of the eye pins were quickly formed into loops to give the epoxy clay something to secure – even though Apoxie Sculpt adheres well to metal, a straight pin could pull out. Once the Apoxie Sculpt was cured, I used jump rings to attach the beetles to a cheap pot metal necklace. The jump rings give the bugs a little movement which is fun, and keep them from fouling the links of the necklace.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019Finishing the corset was just a matter of another forty or fifty hours of beading and embroidering.

I used a lot of metallic filament at the end, to unify the machine-embroidered appliques with the beading and the crystals. I got the colored metallic filaments, which are plastic rather than thread, in a pack of ten colors at the Euro store.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I have used up my whole supply now and gotta find some more, as most metallic embroidery thread is simply the devil’s dingleberries.

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019(I did not make up that phrase. One of my boyfriends, astonished at my passion for capers, said that “Capers are the Devil’s dingleberries.” Not something one forgets.)

Bead embroidered insect corset by Suzanne Forbes Nov 2019I was planning to attach some beetle brooches to it, but in the end I decided they would catch everything even more than the 3D crust of beading. So I will simply pin them on to my top.

Here’s a bad video of me actually wearing it!